In a release posted on Facebook, Democrat Shelli Yoder announced on Thursday that she is resigning from Monroe County’s council and will serve through the end of October. Yoder’s resignation was caused by a pending change in her residency, according to the release.
Yoder currently represents the county council’s District 1, which covers the eastern third of Monroe County and the northeast corner of Bloomington.
The release quotes Yoder as saying “Although this move will take my family into a different Bloomington neighborhood just beyond the border of District 1, my commitment to our community and Monroe County’s continued success is as strong as ever. I look forward to finding new opportunities to serve and to continuing the work of meeting the challenges we face at the local, state, and national levels.”
At-large seats on the council can be held by residents who live anywhere in the county. Asked by The Beacon via text message, if she had contemplated running for one of the three at-large positions on the county council that is up for election in 2020, Yoder replied: “I’m still considering what’s next.”
The three at-large seats on the seven-member council are currently held by Geoff McKim, Cheryl Munson, and Trent Deckard.
Yoder also told The Beacon that she plans to attend the joint meeting of the county council and the Bloomington’s city council, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the Nat U. Hill room of the county courthouse. That means Yoder will spend part of her antepenultimate day of county council service in the same room where she’s chaired its meetings as president of the council for the last couple of years.
The council will need to elect a new president to finish out the year, something that could happen at a work session that’s scheduled for next Tuesday, Oct. 22. Vice president of the council is Eric Spoonmore. Asked by The Beacon, councilor Geoff McKim said that Spoonmore would be “the logical choice [for council president], and would certainly support his being president if he were willing.”
Yoder’s reference to finding new opportunities to serve could include a broader geographic region than Monroe County. Yoder ran for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District seat in 2016, a race won by Republican Trey Hollingsworth. Four years earlier she ran for the 9th District seat against Todd Young.
Yoder was re-elected to a four-year term on the county council in November 2018, in a race against Republican T. Ann Boehm. Yoder was first elected to the county council in 2014, when she won a race against Nelson Shaffer.
But Yoder began her service on the county council a year earlier, when she was selected in January 2013 by a Democratic Party caucus as the replacement for Vic Kelson, who resigned. (Kelson is the director of utilities for the City of Bloomington.)
The same party caucus process will be used to find Yoder’s replacement on the county council. Whoever is selected will serve out the rest of the roughly two years left in Yoder’s term.
Under state statute, it’s the party to which the resigning councilmember belongs that has the responsibility to find a replacement. The statute says the party chair has ten days after a vacancy occurs to give notice to the precinct “committeemen” that a caucus will be held. The caucus itself has to be held no later than 30 days after the vacancy occurs.
The state statute lays out the rules of the caucus procedures for selecting replacement, which including a provision that if more than one person wants to fill the vacancy the voting has to be by secret ballot. And if there’s a tie vote, it’s the chair (or their designee) who breaks the tie.
The Beacon was not able to reach the chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party, Jennifer Crossley, during the short timeframe before this piece was published. [Update 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2019: Crossley indicated that she’s trying to schedule a caucus date and once it’s scheduled it’ll be released.]